Synopsis: Recently released electricity rules should also focus on the problem faced by DIscoms that can be sorted out by increasing energy efficiency.
Recently published Electricity Rules, 2020 lay down uniform performance standards for discoms and makes them liable to consumer compensation in case of violations of their rights.
Rules have been framed keeping in mind the decreasing payment rates for electricity bills due to rising consumption and limited finances.
Challenges faced by Discoms
- Firstly, by 2030, residential electricity consumption in India is expected to double. Moreover, the increase in electric appliances is creating doubts around the discom’s ability to provide reliable supply at affordable rates.
- Secondly, some of the daily use appliances are not Energy Efficient.
- Out of the 90% households using fans, only 3% are using energy-efficient fans,
- 60% of T.V. are energy-guzzling CRT (cathode ray tube) models and
- desert coolers are not even covered under the labelling programme.
- Third, Indian Discoms are facing difficulties in managing their finances that required govt. to sanction liquidity relief to help discoms. But it is only temporary relief.
How to increase energy efficiency?
As mentioned above, discoms might not be able to keep up with the demands of consumers in the long run. Thus, the following steps are required to reduce the energy demand;
- Firstly, the availability and affordability of energy-efficient appliances need to be improved.
- Although BEE is planning to bring ceiling fans under mandatory labelling from 2022, it would double the costing, which would create a barrier.
- Manufacturers should be provided with lucrative offers to produce efficient technology at scale and bring it within purchasing capacity.
- Secondly, the nationwide consumer awareness campaign should be launched for energy efficiency.
- Awareness level among small towns and rural areas is very low compared to residents of metros and tier-1 cities.
- Thus, a consumer-centric engagement strategy with the cooperation of State governments, discoms and retailers should be evolved to create mass awareness.
- Third, supply quality and changing consumption pattern should be monitored on real-time basis.
- Smart metering should be used to monitor actual saving by the consumer due to energy-efficient appliances.
- It would create confidence among people and would also be crucial for enforcing consumer rights rules.
India has many examples of success in creating awareness of energy-efficient appliances. UJALA scheme transformed the market for LED bulbs. Now, 90% of Indian homes use LED lamps or tubes resulting in the reduction of carbon emission equivalent to 82 million tonnes.
More such programs are required to be fast-tracked.